Elizabeth Hand’s writing honors include the Shirley Jackson Award, the James Tiptree Award, the Nebula Award, the World Fantasy Award, the International Horror Guild Award, and many others. Now, this uniquely gifted storyteller brings us a searing and iconoclastic crime novel, in which photographer Cass Neary, introduced in the underground classic Generation Loss, finds herself drawn into the shadowy world of crime in Scandinavia’s coldest corners.
As this riveting tour-de-force opens, the police already want to talk to Cass about a mysterious death she was involved with previously, but before they can bring her in, Cass accepts a job offer from overseas and hops on a plane. In Helsinki, she authenticates a series of disturbing but stunning images taken by a famous fashion photographer who has cut himself off from the violent Nordic music scene where he first made his reputation. Paid off by her shady employer, she buys a one-way ticket to Reykjavik, in search of a lover from her own dark past.
But when the fashion photographer’s mutilated corpse is discovered back in Finland, Cass finds herself sucked into a vortex of ancient myth and betrayal, vengeance and serial murder, set against a bone-splintering soundtrack of black metal and the terrifying beauty of the sunless Icelandic wilderness. In this eagerly awaited sequel to the award-winning Generation Loss, Cass Neary finds her own worst fears confirmed: it’s always darkest before it turns completely black.
Prolong the suspense: also listen to the first book, Generation Loss.
©2012 Elizabeth Hand (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
“A skin-blistering crime novel, as edgy and black as dried blood on a moonlit night.” (Robert Crais)
"A brilliant sequel to Hand’s acclaimed literary thriller Generation Loss… Stunning." (Booklist)
"Fiercely frightening yet hauntingly beautiful, with a startling heroine you’ll never forget…. Shimmers with gorgeous writing even as it scares the dickens out of you." (Tess Gerritsen)
What the many Stieg Larsson imitators don't understand is that it's all about Salander, and while Hand's Cass Neary is older and less moral, she's cut from similar cloth. Her tattoo, Too Tough To Die, says it all. She's unabashedly selfish, and while you might think this would make her unsympathetic, for some reason it's a ton of fun. I love that whenever someone leaves her alone for a minute, she goes to look in their medicine cabinet. It doesn't even occur to her to be ashamed of it!
In this book, the second, after Generation Loss, Cass goes to Iceland and gets mixed up with creepy photograph collectors and Scandinavian black metal bands. She solves a couple of murders somehow (well, with the help of some chemical friends!). This is such a wonderfully written depiction of 1) the Icelandic setting and 2) the magical quality that makes a photograph great rather than just good. Spotting the latter is what Cass is so good at -- she has an eye. I guess it makes her a good detective, too. That and the fact that she's a magnet for trouble.
The narrator of this novel does it just right. Cass is a wisecracker, like Philip Marlowe, but to pull it off you can't try to sound too tough or smart alecky. So if you'd like to read about another Salander-like heroine, only with a mouth on her, look no further
I am hooked on the Cass Neary series - totally hooked. But be warned, these are not your average mysteries and Cass is not your average amateur sleuth. Rather she's a self destructive bisexual washed-up photographer whose moment of fame was a long time ago and who longs for the good old days when the New York punk scene was at its pinnacle. Cass drinks to excess, takes drugs just to get through the day and then to end it. She is a kleptomaniac who uses other people???s medicine cabinets as a source to supply her habit, and she just happens to be in the wrong and the worst time.
But there is a certain allure that makes Cass intriguing rather than repulsive. The mysteries are twisted and savage and Cass' involvement is totally by chance rather than by choice or interest as she???s been enticed, or coerced, into a job where she can put her skills to work.
Carol Monda's performance is terrific, she is able to get to the gut of each of the characters and you know exactly what they are feeling and what they're experiencing.
So if you???ve got an open mind and if you don't mind peering at the darker edges of humanity, I enthusiastically encourage you to give these books a try. Be aware that you do have to listen to them in order. And I can???t wait for the next mess that Cass falls into.
Australian, living in beautiful central Victoria. Audio book addict otherwise fairly well balanced.
I was delighted with Generation Loss and my introduction to Cass Neery and couldn't wait to wrap my ears around this one. I don't know exactly the source of my disappointment in Available Dark, the next novel in the series (the ending prepares the ground for a third). It could be that this character is too difficult to sustain. Her quirks and 'issues' delighted me in the first book but now bore and annoy the hell out of me. Maybe the location (Iceland) was too testing, the other characters too mad and improbable, the subject matter too disturbing. Perhaps all of the above.If you're into death metal you might enjoy it. If not, settle for Generation Loss and then leave Cass alone to carry on (wearing the same leather jacket and cowboy boots) doing her thing. I know that's what I intend to do.
Good writing, really interesting characters who definitely aren't sugar-coated. It started out more interesting than it ended, but overall a strong thriller.
Didn't keep me on the edge of the seat, but kept my interest.
The best narrators make you forget someone's reading the book, and this narrator did this. She made the story prominent, not her performance.
Ending needs to be snappier. Not a good tag line, I know.
I read so many books and my tastes are catholic that it is rare that I come across a novel that is startlingly original with a protagonist who is unique. Keep with it even if you aren't intrigued in the beginning. I almost stopped listening because I thought the narrator was just goth with no real reason for being so miserable. Thankfully, I stayed with it because I would have missed out on a little gem. The characters are fully fleshed individuals, even the minor ones and this is the true pleasure offered here.
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